Otago research papers rank top

The University of Otago has again topped New Zealand's research institution rankings for the highest number of papers published in the prestigious journal Nature and its related research journals last year.

Otago University came in at 67th in the 2013 Nature Publishing Index Asia-Pacific, which was released as a supplement to the latest issue of Nature. The index measures the output of research articles from Asia-Pacific nations and institutes, published in the 18 Nature-branded journals last year.

University deputy vice-chancellor, research and enterprise, Prof Richard Blaikie, was ''exceptionally pleased'' with the outcome, which reflected the global reach and sustained excellence of Otago research.

Otago University's ranking rose last year from 87th place in 2012, when it had also topped the country's institutions.

The index showed Otago University also enjoyed the highest New Zealand ranking between 2009 and 2013, coming in 61st in the Asia-Pacific with 39 articles.

The latest rankings not only boosted Otago University's ''international reputation for excellence'' but were also positive for Dunedin and its tertiary education industry, Prof Blaikie said.

The latest outcome had improved Otago's visibility as ''a world-class tertiary education destination'' and helped in ''attracting students and research funding into Dunedin'' and the university's other centres of activity.

Otago University earlier had been ranked as New Zealand's top university in the citation components of the annual Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and the QS World University Rankings.

Taken together, the three rankings showed ''how globally connected and influential'' Otago research really was.

The success of Otago researchers in the Nature publications had also helped the university ''raise its profile and position'' in the other international ranking exercises.

Last year, articles by researchers in the Otago divisions of sciences and health were published in Nature, and several other related publications, including Nature Climate Change, and Nature Genetics.

The University of Otago research also involved many disciplines, including anatomy, biochemistry, geology, marine science and medicine.